A Texas-based technology company blamed for a failed project to put the state's court records online now faces accusations that it violated its contract to create an online property tax system for Anoka County.
The county is suing Tyler Technologies for missing several deadlines over the past two years that left the county without a fully functioning property tax system, according to a complaint filed June 15 that was moved to federal court Monday.
In a notice of removal from state court to U.S. District Court filed Monday by attorneys representing Tyler Technologies, attorneys said to date the county has paid about $4.8 million. The project was expected to cost the county nearly $7 million.
In a statement, Tyler Technologies didn't address the allegations directly, but said it was performing under the contract and was "disappointed" by the county's decision to sue.
According to the complaint:
The county entered into a contract with Tyler in 2017 and agreed to complete work on a system for property assessment, tax, land and vital records by July 2018. Unable to meet the deadline, it was extended to August 2019 with reduced fees. Again, the deadline was extended to November and Tyler agreed to compensate the county for the delay. After missing that third deadline the county notified the company in February that if deadlines for specified overdue items weren't met by March, and all other overdue items by April, it would take legal action.
Assistant Anoka County Attorney Jason Stover wrote in February to Tyler's senior corporate attorney that the county has "informed Tyler repeatedly of the real world harm it suffers from Tyler's inability to finish its work." Stover added: "It is unacceptable that Anoka County must continue to cajole Tyler into performing its basic contractual obligations."
As of the filing of the complaint, the county claims Tyler Technologies has not completed any of the work agreed to in the contract.
"Dozens of issues remain to be resolved, and Tyler has refused to commit to completing those issues by any specific future date," the complaint states.
Anoka County is claiming the company breached its contract by failing to complete all work required by agreed upon deadlines, and such breach has resulted in "extensive damages" including staff time related to Tyler's failed implementation of the system and estimates exceeding $50,000.
Last year, the Minnesota judicial branch shuttered a project with Tyler after the company failed to meet deadlines and address dozens of unresolved glitches when working on public remote online access to court records.
Independent journalist Tony Webster shared the Anoka County complaint Tuesday on Twitter. He said the allegations are similar to what he's heard from the Minnesota Judicial Council meetings "where staff described what they repeatedly labeled as Tyler Tech's failures."
In a statement Tuesday, Tyler Technologies said the Minnesota judicial branch has been a partner for more than 20 years. "Today, Tyler systems provide access to online court data for more than 20,000 users working in agencies across the state. Minnesota consistently upgrades to the latest version of Tyler's flagship court solution — at no additional licensing cost — and has received prestigious industry recognition for the success of its Tyler projects."
The company added that Anoka County is using the contracted-for system daily, including a publicly available portal for citizen inquiry and payment of current tax bills.
"Our track record proves that we can work through this transition successfully if everyone works together," the company continued. "We are disappointed that Anoka County has chosen to pursue litigation instead. That is especially true where the litigation asks for us to do what we are already doing: performing under the contract."
Kim Hyatt • 612-673-4751